Cyril Johnston is one of the largest suppliers and distributors of garden machinery and leisure goods in the UK and Ireland. With over 60 years in the horticultural and leisure business, we’ve been shaping the local landscape since 1954. Investment in technology, products, processes and people, together with a commitment to exceed the expectations of our customers, ensures we’re well positioned to grow and thrive alongside our customers.
Cyril Johnston are the main agents/dealers for most leading garden machinery brands including Mountfield, Toro, Hayter, Gardencare, Briggs and Stratton, along with many other leading manufacturers. Cyril Johnston are also the proud manufacturer and distributor of the well known garden machinery brands Gardencare, Huntsman and Tiger.
Cyril Johnston currently employ over 60 people across a wide range of functions, including administration, customer support, distribution, engineering, finance, marketing, product development and sales. Based on a 10-acre site near Belfast, Cyril Johnston remains a privately owned, independently managed business, led by an experienced team of industry professionals.
The Cyril Johnston retail store is located next to our Head Office in Carryduff. We offer a wide range of big-brand lawnmowers, garden machinery and outdoor products at value-for-money prices. On-site workshop facilities and experienced staff provide expert advice and whole-life product support.
Our groundscare division supplies machinery to commercial, professional and public sector customers in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. We distribute and support market-leading brands, whilst on-site workshop facilities ensure we can provide whole life service support too. Visit the Cyril Johnston Groundscare website.
Cyril Johnston Hire specialises in the short-term rental of specialist equipment to agricultural, commercial, DIY, horticultural and retail customers in Northern Ireland. Visit the Cyril Johnston Hire Website.
The origins of Cyril Johnston & Company, Limited can be traced back to the 1940s, when a young Cyril Johnston left the family farm in Co. Antrim, to seek employment in post-war Belfast. Successful in finding a position with a Belfast supplier of horticultural products, in 1954, Cyril acquired his employer’s business. Thus began a story, which continues until this very day.
The 1950s were a successful time for the business, which consolidated its position within the Northern Ireland market. The province was emerging from the aftermath of the Second World War; consumer confidence was growing; purchase restrictions were easing; and continual product innovation was acting as a catalyst for increase sales of horticultural machinery.
Distribution agreements were signed with a number of horticultural machinery manufacturers. The most notable of these, was an agreement to distribute lawnmowers produced by a young Douglas Hayter, the founder of Hayter Lawnmowers and a pioneer of the petrol-engined, rotary mower in the UK. Hayter was to establish his business as a leading UK manufacturer of lawnmowers and Cyril Johnston & Co., Ltd. was to prove central to Hayter’s success. We’re proud that our relationship with Hayter continues to this very day.
A growing business
By the 1960s, the company was beginning to emerge as Northern Ireland’s foremost distributor of horticultural machinery, with a growing customer base in the Republic of Ireland too.
The company’s success in the horticultural sector had not gone unnoticed in other industries, with the business securing dealerships for the supply and distribution of agricultural products and machinery. Agreements were struck with Massey Ferguson and Ford among others. Tractors began to share showroom space alongside lawnmowers, brush cutters and hedge trimmers. The continued growth of the company rendered the existing showroom and offices in Belfast City Centre too small. To ensure the continued growth of the business, the showroom relocated to 2 separate sites on Belfast’s Woodstock Road and Ormeau Road, either side of the River Lagan.
Relocation and redevelopment
By the early 1980s, the company had outgrown its premises in Belfast. Cyril acquired land on the Ballynahinch Road in Carryduff, Co. Down – just 20 minutes drive from Belfast, Ballynahinch, Comber, Lisburn, Saintfield and Sprucefield – which allowed him to bring both businesses together on a single site. Cyril’s eldest son Dolway became Managing Director, whilst his younger son David was appointed a Director. Doway and David both continue to serve as directors to this day.
The construction of new showrooms on the Carryduff site, saw the creation of spacious new retail and display space for the company’s agricultural and horticultural divisions. Additional space was also created on-site to facilitate the continued growth and expansion of the company’s distribution business.
Throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, the company continued to prosper, facing the arrival of the new millennium with confidence.
Back to the future
The mixed fortunes of the UK’s agricultural industry, caused the business to review its operations and focus its resources upon its core horticultural business. In 2006, the decision was made to divest of the company’s Agricultural Division. Acquired by a, local Massey Ferguson dealer, the business continues to trade successfully on-site today.
With a renewed focus upon horticulture, significant resources were allocated to the development of the company’s own Gardencare range of lawn mowers and garden machinery, alongside franchised brands. The Approved Gardencare Dealer concept emerged in Ireland, providing independent machinery dealers with a compelling commercial proposition and allowing them to compete against larger big box retailers with renewed confidence.
A new journey
In July 2015, the company announced it was terminating its distribution arrangements in Great Britain, in favour of a direct distribution approach. This new arrangement will ensure that all Gardencare customers receive the same consistently high level of service, irrespective of where they are based.
Much has changed during the past 60+ years. But some things haven’t; among them the commitment of our founder, to offer quality, well engineered products that people want to buy, at a price they can afford, accompanied by a service that exceeds their expectations.
Today, that commitment remains at the heart of everything we do.
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